Looking for Luther Quote


Looking for Luther Quote …
on his authority to determine which books are canonical.

I had read it in one of the many apologetic books I have, but I can’t seem to locate it now.

A loose paraphrase is:
I can remove books from scripture on my authority; my will alone is sufficient to determine this.
It was, if I recall, in a letter and not in a document he had intended to publish himself.

Ring any bells?

Thanks in advance.


Sure it does… It pertains to Luther’s addition to the word “alone” to the text of Romans 3:28 in his German translation.

Martin Luther reportedly said, “You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word alone in not in the text of Paul…say right out to him: ‘Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,’…I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word ‘alone’ is not in the Latin or the Greek text” (Stoddard J. Rebuilding a Lost Faith. 1922, pp. 101-102; see also Luther M. Amic. Discussion, 1, 127).


PERFECT! Thanks so much for the QUICK and ACCURATE reply!





Here is more context, if you are interested.

[quote=Martin Luther]“I know very well that in Romans 3 the word solum is not in the Greek or Latin text — the papists did not have to teach me that. It is fact that the letters s-o-l-a are not there. And these blockheads stare at them like cows at a new gate, while at the same time they do not recognize that it conveys the sense of the text – if the translation is to be clear and vigorous [klar und gewaltiglich], it belongs there. I wanted to speak German, not Latin or Greek, since it was German I had set about to speak in the translation.”

Luther was not the first to use the phrase.

[quote=Thomas Aquinas]Expositio in Ep. I ad Timotheum cap. 1, lect. 3 (Parma ed., 13.588): “Non est ergo in eis [moralibus et caeremonialibus legis] spes iustificationis, sed in sola fide, Rom. 3:28: Arbitramur justificari hominem per fidem, sine operibus legis” (Therefore the hope of justification is not found in them [the moral and ceremonial requirements of the law], but in faith alone, Rom 3:28: We consider a human being to be justified by faith, without the works of the law). Cf. In ep. ad Romanos 4.1 (Parma ed., 13.42a): “reputabitur fides eius, scilicet sola sine operibus exterioribus, ad iustitiam”; In ep. ad Galatas 2.4 (Parma ed., 13.397b): “solum ex fide Christi” [Opera 20.437, b41]).


Nope, it was used long before that:
Jas 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.


For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
Romans 3:28


So, here Paul specifically says that “observing the law” (ie, works of the law) is one thing that Faith can be separated from and remain salvific.

However, this statement does not say that Faith is “apart from” ALL things.

Hope this helps. :tiphat:


i.e. I am rephrasing Paul into something more agreeable to my ear.


Hi Schabel,

Luther had a rather high-handed attitude toward the Bible. Here is another quote that you can find at

He [Luther] rejected from the canon Hebrews, James, Jude and the Apocalypse. These he placed at the end of his translation, after the others, which he called ‘the true and certain capital books of the New Testament.’ . . . ‘St. John is the only sympathetic, the only true Gospel and should undoubtedly be preferred to the others. In like manner the Epistles of St. Peter and St. Paul are superior to the first three Gospels.’ The Epistle to the Hebrews did not suit him: ‘It need not surprise one to find here bits of wood, hay, and straw.’ The Epistle of St. James, Luther denounced as ‘an epistle of straw.’ ‘I do not hold it to be his writing, and I cannot place it among the capital books.’ He did this because it proclaimed the necessity of good works, contrary to his heresy. ‘There are many things objectionable in this book,’ he says of the Apocalypse, . . . ‘I feel an aversion to it, and to me this is a sufficient reason for rejecting it’ .

. .



OK, guys, I’m going back to the well. Who can blame me after getting the immediate response I got before?

Anyway, I’m looking for another Luther quote, and it has to do something with private interpretation. It goes VERY roughly like:
“there’s no belief so strange that some fool will not say that the Holy Spirit has led them to believe it from scripture.”

Hey, I warned you – VERY roughly.

Thanks in advance,


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